We all know that today’s teenagers spend lots of time checking social media, texting, listening to music and watching television – sometimes all at once. What is staggering is how much time kids actually spend using digital media.
A new report released by the San Francisco-based nonprofit organization, Common Sense Media, found that teens aged 13-18 spend about nine hours a day on “entertainment media.” That is longer than most of them sleep! The category of entertainment media includes things like listening to music, watching online videos, gaming and of course – checking Facebook and other social media.
And that time does not include the time teens use media for homework or other school work.
At the same time, tweens – those aged 10 to 12 – are not that far behind their older counterparts. Tweens consume about six hours per day of similar content.
Researchers conducted interviews with 2,658 young people earlier this year. Results indicated that half of teens say they “often or sometimes watch TV” while doing homework. Also while doing homework, 50% of teens admitted to using using social networking, 60% claimed they text and 76% listen to music. And, it is likely that many do all four things while “doing” homework.
James Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, pointed out that, “As a parent and educator, there’s clearly more work to be done around the issue of multi-tasking. Nearly two-thirds of teens today tell us they don’t think watching TV or texting while doing homework makes any difference to their ability to study and learn, even though there’s more and more research to the contrary.”
To many adults, it is surprising that watching television and listening to music are still the favorites among tweens and teens. About two-thirds of teenagers said they listen to music every day and 58% reported they watched some television on a daily basis. By contrast, 45% of teens reported using social media daily and 36% said they enjoyed it “a lot.”
Also according to the report, 62% of age 8- to 12-year-olds reported watching television every day.
Not surprisingly, boys play video games much more than girls do. The report found that male teenagers spend about one hour a day gaming, while girls only spend seven minutes at the controllers. Interestingly, girls spend more time reading or on social media than boys.
Ethnicity also plays a role in the amount of time devoted to digital media. Black teenagers spend more time with media than any other group, spending an average of 11 hours and 13 minutes per day. With respect to other ethnic groups, Latino teens spend just over nine hours per day using digital media and white teens spend just under nine hours per day.
Steyer emphasized that, “The census really sheds light on how different media use is for different kids – from boys to girls, low-income to more affluent, and kids from all ethnic backgrounds.”